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WH Smith to open six new outlets following 4% decline in total sales

RBR Staff Writer Published 24 January 2013

British retailer WH Smith has reported a 4% decline in total sales for the 20-week period ended 20 January 2013.

Like-for-like sales for the period were down 5% as high street gross margins improved and the company managed to rein in costs.

WH Smith chief executive Kate Swann remarked that the reporting period we saw a good profit performance with margins well managed, and costs regulated across the group.

"Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to remain challenging however we are a resilient business with a consistent record of both profit growth and cash generation, and are confident in making further progress in the year," added Swann.

According to the Guardian, the retailer is looking to open six new outlets in the country while earmarking an investment of £5m to expand its personalized Funky Pigeon card brand.

The retailer is buoyed by the prospect of better buying terms, less discounting following Christmas and a shift towards more profitable stationary products to offset its losses.

Swann told the newspaper that the retailer's online business - including the main books and stationary sites are expected to be profitable in the coming year.

WH Smith currently operates over 600 stores on the UK high streets with an additional 600 at airports, train stations and motorway service areas.